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Veges enjoying a spot of rain, 27 Dec 2008. (Larger image)

27 Dec 2008

Paul popped along to check the garden during a lull in the rain/drizzle - there are some nice looking lettuces and the broccoli are starting to make an appearance.

Adam inspects the veges, 20 Dec 2008. (Larger image)

20 Dec 2008

Adam and Paul popped in at 10am to check on things during a break in the rain. The tomatoes at the far end of bed 4 are still looking pretty sick - but everything else is looking good. There are some lettuce ready for picking and all the cauliflower are looking very healthy.

At 12 the picnic at the gardens plan was switched to a pot luck at Paul and Michelle's house. Brent, Mary, Liz, Elton, Raewyn, Michelle, Paul and Adam enjoyed a lazy lunch in out of the rain.

Everyone hard at work, 13 Dec 2008.

13 Dec 2008

Another maintenance day. The plants seem to be growing - but not yet thriving. It may be that the soil nutrients are not quite right yet. Hopefully when we start adding new soil from our compost bins things will pick up.

Raewyn experimented by adding used coffee grounds around some of the plants that seem to be struggling a bit.

Paul turned the first compost bay and mowed the lawn. We all trimmed the edges.

The soil was still damp from overnight rain so didn't need watering.

And we enjoyed some lovely fresh peas.

Martin thinning the carrots, 6 Dec 2008.

6 Dec 2008

Martin and Paul did a little maintenance then called it a day - it was getting pretty hot! (Maybe we should be meeting at 9am during daylight saving?)

Martin weeded the carrots and Paul added some extra hoses to make watering easier.

Note to those who have volunteered to water the garden - it's better to water the gardens early morning or late evening - not in the heat of the day (eg not at 10am).

Martin harvested a bit of silverbeat for dinner.

Garden growing well.
Garden growing well, 29 Nov 2008. (Larger image)

29 Nov 2008

We did a few normal garden chores this week; watering, trimming the edges, looking for insect damage. Mary brought along some certified organic phosphate and powered seaweed which should help the veges aren't doing as well as they could be.

All-in-all things are looking good.

Some of the first silverbeet plantings (far left in the photo) are now ready for light harvesting - if you are passing feel free to pick a few leaves.

22 Nov 2008

We helped Randwick School weed part of their vege garden and sorted some "waste" branches ready for mulching. Later Paul, Michelle and Adam produced 1 full wheelie bin's worth of mulch.

Paul checked the garden - all looking good.

Earlier in the week Emilie added a wheelie bin full of used coffee grounds to the compost.

Checking out the garden after adding carpet "lids" to the compost station.

15 Nov 2008

After meeting at the garden to add the carpet "lids" onto the compost bays (thanks to Toni for the carpet), we walked over to Paul and Michelle's house for a chat about future plans/options.

  • Paul to create a timetable for summer watering
  • Someone to send an "update" about the garden for inclusion in the quarterly Randwick School newsletter
  • Finish Raewyns poster and distribute to local shops for display (Please send your poster comments and ideas before we print)
  • Could produce the poster as an A5 black-and-white flier for delivery to local letterboxes
  • Ask owners of the bunker if we can have a mural painted on it.
  • Ask owners of the bunker if we can put planter boxes against the north and east walls for growing heat loving climbers (eg tomatoes)
  • See if Hutt News would like to do a photo story of our progress.

Thoughts on harvesting:

  • We're still some way off from our first harvest
  • Some veges can be bulk harvested (eg potatoes), others incrementally (eg zucchinis, one every few days)
  • For bulk harvested veges we may find that our harvest this year is quite modest - so it may be better to decide what to do with them when they're harvested. If we have a good harvest then we could donate some/all of it to the Muturangi Trust who can distribute them to local-low income families at their weekly free bread day.
  • For incremental harvest veges - it may be better to just divvy them up to whoever is there at the time.

After all the hard work we had a fine pot-luck lunch.

Richard and Brent shovel spare compost in the background whilst Raewyn
and her daughter water the new tyre beds.

8 Nov 2008

We installed 4 bus tyre beds (thanks Raewyn) and built a three-bay compost station. Raewyn and her daughter also bought another load of compost which went into the four tyres, with the left-over going into the compost station.

Herbs planted in the tyres:

  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Parley
  • Chives
  • Coriander
  • Mint

Paul also sourced some old wheelie bins from Envirowaste Ltd. One of these now lives at RIPE cafe collecting used coffee grounds. Emilie has volunteered to collect it once a week and add the coffee grounds to the compost.

Raewyn has also volunteered to draft up a flier we can post around the neighbourhood describing the gardens' purpose and inviting more participation.

After much debate and artistic input we chose this arrangement for the tyres.

After much debate and artistic input we chose this arrangement for the tyres. Again we chose the "no-dig sheet mulch" approach; cardboard, newspaper, compost and pea straw.

We planted a mix of herbs in the tyres.

Elton and Martin checking the soil moisture.

1 Nov 2008

Martin, Elton, Alex and Paul went up to Pinehaven for their seed swap.

We met first at the Moera garden to see how things are growing. Looking good.

Pinehaven Community Garden

Kate and another Pinehaven local showing Martin around their new Community Garden plots.

In the foreground is a large communal bed. Kate and Martin are standing behind a row of allotements - each using different methods to grow their own vege's. In the background is a new compost station build from pallets - similar to the one we're considering for Moera.

The Pinehaven garden was started at about the same time as ours - early September.

Pinehaven Seed Swap

Seed swap in the Pinehaven Community Hall.

St Marks Church Garden, Upper Hutt

We also had a quick look at the vege garden behind the St Marks Church, Upper Hutt.

All four garden beds planted.

25 Oct 2008

We planted beds 3 and 4 with:

  • Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini
  • Silverbeat
  • Spinach
  • "Brasica mix"
  • Phacelia
  • Nasturtium

See planting layout sketches.

Four garden beds completed.

18 Oct 2008

We started by checking our first two plots; some of the plants are going to seed already. Chester thinks that's because there's not enough nitrogen available for the plants. Mary added some diluted Bokashi "juice" which should help.

We placed the beds we made last week (see below), then laid cardboard, then newspaper, then compost (0.5 cubic mitre per bed). And topped them off with some pea straw to hold the moisture in.

Mary was concerned the compost was too hot to plant in immediately. Chester recommends waiting two weeks before using compost. We're also keen to get stuff in the ground before we run out of spring - so we decided to leave planting till next week. That gives us a bit more time to clarify what we'd like to plant.

We also haven't worked out what to do with herbs - have a special space for them or "companion plant" them?

Elton and Martin contemplating veges.
(Adam and Michelle on a completely different waka.)

Then it was time for lunch at Elton and Alex's place. Followed by a tour of Elton's gardens.

Second pair of planter boxes on Paul's driveway.

11 Oct 2008

We all met at the Gardens to see how everything was doing - looks good so far.

Raewyn, Liz and Paul collected some free unwanted pallets from Wingate and Petone.

We pulled some of the pallets apart to build two new planter box from pallets - see photo - they look great!

There are some enough extras to build a compost station at a future time. (Although it would be good to get this started in spring too.)

Thanks to Elton and Alex for staying late to finish the second planter box.

Several people have suggested we make newer plots out of different materials as experiments in cheap plot design:

  • new sleepers done
  • pallets done
  • old tires done
  • used sleepers
  • bricks
  • hand made mud/clay/straw bricks
  • any other ideas?

Video: a few short clips from the day. Brent and Alex hard at work pulling pallets apart, then Elton banging them back together. Followed by the the finished product.

First planting (worker-to-watcher ratio about right).

27 Sept 2008, 10am

We planted the first two beds. The plants and seeds were from Mary, Leanne, Martin and Elton.

We decided no poisonous plants (eg rhubarb).

Here's a sketch of what we planted:

  • silver beet
  • lettuce
  • calendula
  • marigold
  • sunflowers
  • oregano
  • parsley
  • peas
  • carrots

Video: The planting session.

Opahu Stream planting.

27 Sept 2008, 11am

Planting along Opahu Stream organised by Greater Wellington Regional Council. (Opahu Stream runs between the Moera stop bank and the Hutt River.

Irrigation and first beds in!

13 Sep 2008 - We layed in the irrigation tubing and built the first two plots. Progress was better than I was hoping for! Calendar

Video: Digging the trench for the irrigation tubing and build the first beds.

30 Aug 2008 - Pot luck lunch at Paul and Michelle's was followed by a planting-planning session.

28 Aug 2008 - Received email from Craig Cottrill, Reserves Asset Manager, Hutt City Council; "Iím happy for you to go ahead..."

9 Aug 2008 - Another pot luck at Paul and Michelle's place, followed by a design-planning session. See the resulting plot layout design 1 page PDF

Bob Malone describing his three bin compost process.

26 July 2008 - Paul and Michelle hosted a put luck lunch, followed by a compost workshop at Bob's house. 15 people attended, plus kids.

Bob's process uses 3 black plastic bins:

  • chop up garden leaves and twigs with his lawn mower, throws the result into bin 1
  • also throws kitchen scraps into bin 1
  • several weeks later he tosses the contents of bin 1 into bin 2
  • several weeks (longer in winter) later he tosses the contents of bin 2 into bin 3
  • several weeks later (when it looks like nice compost) he throws contents of bin 3 onto the garden.


  • never has to dig the soil
  • rotate the location of veges each year - He doesn't grow the same crop on the same patch tow years in a row.
  • compost takes less than a month to make in summer, longer in winter.

16 July 2008 - Martin, Michelle and I meet with Craig Cottrill at the proposed location. Craig is Hutt City Reserves Asset Manager, Parks & Gardens. He said it looked OK at this stage. He would have some people look at the plans to make sure there were no unexpected issues. But he didn't think there would be any impediment. Looks good!

12 July 2008 - Paul and Michelle hosted a pot luck lunch and we discussed progress. 10 people attended plus kids.

8 July 2008 - Michelle sent draft proposal to Council.

March-June 2008 - a series of meetings to gather plans/idea/proposals

26 Feb 2008 - Public meeting at Moera Community Hall to discuss community garden idea.

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Page last modified on 15 February 2009 at 03:11 PM. Copyright 2007 Paul Kennett unless otherwise stated.